Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas, Doctor Who, Music

A quick blog just wanted to write out a few quick thoughts on the last two days while it’s still fresh in mind:

Christmas was nice and quiet this year. Unfortunately for me, I've not been able to sleep well; some days off I can't shake my graveyard sleep cycle. So, I've been up, listening to BBC Radio 1, and downloading the newest episode of Doctor Who. It’s weird to listen to an alive and awake community, while I'm on the other end of the earth awake amongst the sleepy United States. It’s nice to actually listen to things like the Chris Moyle Show live, even though it’s about 10:30pm here when he starts at 6:30am in the UK!

As for Doctor Who, I've been waiting in anticipation for some time now for the Christmas Special to kick off the new season. If any one show ever has gripped me in excitement and longing for more, it’s definitely Doctor Who. I'm surprised I have been so hooked; I usually don't get too into sci-fi shows. But this one is different, probably because it doesn't get too deep into 'fake tech' like Star Trek will gab about, or 'fake politics' that plagued the Star Wars movies. Doctor Who is silly, serious, has a history, and has an amazing cast, and is just simply enjoyable

Lastly, at my friend Aaron's, I taught his ten year old brother how to play the Star Wars theme on piano. I stopped by Christmas Eve, chatted with their family, helped wrap gifts, and played a couple Christmas songs on piano. I'm no piano player, so it was all by ear, which was fun to pick out the tunes. Well Aaron's brother, Mac, had a Star Wars game we were playing, so the tune was in my head, so I played it on piano. It piqued Mac's interest, so I sat him down on the piano bench and started teaching him the song. First I showed him how the piano is divided into octaves, and then I showed him how to find C. Once we accomplished that, I taught him the Star Wars song using intervals. 1 5 4 3 2 8 5 4 3 2 8 5 4 3 4 2 is how it goes. I figured intervals would be easier for him, since we could just count from C rather than messing with a letter scale that start at C, move up to G, then start over again which is just cumbersome to explain on lesson one. Anyway, with in a half hour lesson, he was able to find C across the piano, and play the tune without even having to look at the notes I wrote down for him just in case he forgot! I felt pretty proud to be able to tame this usually rambunctious child and teach him a song on the piano.

So, that's all for now in my world. I have New Years off as well, that will be nice! I don't have any plans yet, but it’s just nice to stay at home rather than being cooped up in a hospital through the night. Also, my birthday will be rolling around the corner shortly, January 27th to be precise! I'm getting over that 25 hump, I feel slightly overwhelmed and haunted by the number 26. We'll see how that feeling progresses.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The interesting gifts strangers give you

So, Christmas time is upon us all, whether we want it or not. Advent is usually a wonderful time for us. For me, it’s been a blur, worrying about money, unable to give proper gifts, thinking of school, etc, etc. During this haze of the commercialized holiday season, I've forgotten the wonderful origins.. Well, we could go back to the very origins of Yule, Winter Solstice, and all that, but I actually refer to Christ's birth. Oh how easy it is to forget. Sometimes we think of that fat old man in a red suit more than Jesus during December.

It’s interesting to me how some Christian communities actually ignore Christmas on the calendar. They say it’s because Jesus wasn't born that day. Well no frickin' duh... We have no clue of his actual birth, and if you wish to do some sleuthing, many scholars suggest it wouldn't have been a winter birth at all due to the referencing of Shepherds out during those months with their flocks. But they seem to forget that the day is meant for the memory of the saviour's birth. Veteran's day is to remember our veterans who have strived to give us our freedoms, not because someone was born that day. Other holidays also do the same; they are merely placeholders, not actual dates. We do not need to celebrate on JC's actual birthday to remember him, so why not use December 25? It works well. Yes, in the past it was used for other things, but what are we using it for now? It’s a wonderful day now, and we can be happy for its purpose. I'm rambling though, and I've taken a major non sequitur from the topic of this blog. I wanted to talk about Secret Santas. This year, I took part of a Secret Santa ordeal at work and had a week's worth of many wonderful gifts. The woman who picked them thought she didn't do a great job because she hardly knows me, but to be honest I was quite thrilled with what I did get, because it was from the heart. She baked all sorts of treats, picked up some Pezz; I had a Spider-Man lunchbox full of gumballs, a brand new mug and some cocoa. It was awesome; I felt this was one of my most well though out gifts I've received in the longest time. So many people ask me what I want, and honestly, I really wouldn't want anything. There are things in the world I want and need, but personally I'd rather you give to someone more needy than I am. Not that I'm some saint, but I just don't like to know someone is out hunting for a gift for me. But I'm always amazed when some kind of well thought out gift is given to me. The last time I had an amazing gift like this was a few years ago. My youngest niece wrapped a bunch of candy canes from her tree at home to give to me, without the knowledge of her parents. That was beyond amazing. I was stunned by this girl's intuition and thought process. She had seen me for years eat candy canes all the time during Christmases past and on her own put two and two together that I would love to have some candy canes. Pure genius. I really don't like telling someone what I want, because I feel so foolish asking for something. I also am not a fan for gift certificates. I feel gift certificates are thoughtless last resorts. I've picked them up for people before out of lack of ideas, but I do believe they are low. I'd rather have an object to open on Christmas rather than a potential gift. Honestly, it’s more of a chore than a gift. Here, have some money for a store you may not find what you want at, and buy yourself something... Am I the only one that thinks that way?

Alright, after that blurb on Christmas, I wanted to write about the wonderful Moleskine. For those who don't know, it’s a simple journal/notebook made in several formats and sizes. It’s been used by famous writers and artists over the years, and I've decided to use one. I'm always writing tiny notes on paper to remind myself of things, now I have a booklet in my pocket to record these things. It’s taken a week to get used to using it, but now that it’s with me it’s proven its worth. I love these things, and I hope to keep using it because it’s definitely keeping me organized. If anyone wants to get me a gift for Christmas, find me a small ruled Moleskine, I'm sure I'll be filling this one soon.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about Retroware. For all of you following my activities, I've been working on some art for Retroware TV, and it’s been great, but slow because of school. Fortunately, I'm done with school for a quarter, so I'll be catching up with their art, and I've been working on a few illustrations so far. I'll be posting all the work here and in my portfolio when I'm done. I'm pretty excited because this is one more actual project that I've done for someone that has been used in an actual printed piece. It’s nice to see my work in action. Unfortunately thought, I've been fighting a bit of artist block. I can't seem to draw anything decent on paper. I'm halfway done with an illustration with them right now; I'm just doing finishing touches on the computer, so its good progress is being made somewhere. Anyway, I'm just rambling now without a direction, so that is a good time to cut off and say goodnight. I worked all night and my eyelids are getting a tad droopy, so adieu for now!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Am Legend = Director did not read the book

This weekend was nice; I was able to catch up with Matt, whom I haven't seen in about five years, if not more. He's in town getting married of all things, then its back to the wild frontier known as Alaska again. Last night we saw I Am Legend, a movie starring Will Smith, and based on a book. This is probably the third close reincarnation of the book on screen; others you might know are Charleton Heston's Omega Man, and Vincent Prices' Last Man on Earth.

I am a big fan of Richard Matheson's works; he has such an amazing way of revolving the story around the character's psyche and human nature no matter what genre he writes. Even though I Am Legend would technically be a 'horror' novel, the horror of it plays almost in the background. What makes this novel what it is, is the character starting to lose touch with reality and what makes us human because he is essentially the last man on earth. Also, what makes the book so great, and gives it a wonderful shock factor twist is the ending, which is where the title derives its name. Whoever wrote and directed Will Smith's movie butchered the ending. I can forgive them for what things they did change up until 3/4ths of the movie, movies always have to have some changes from the novel to help progress in a more cinematic fashion. But the ending should not have been tampered with. I suggest to anyone seeing this film, read the novel first, it’s a short 170 pages. Better yet, read the novel, then once Neville (Smith) gets saved by the woman, walk out of the theater, and just imagine the rest of the movie from what you read in the novel. You'll get a better impact that way.

I know, I should have known walking into the movie that it was going to tamper with the script. I've been saying from the beginning I knew Will Smith would not do such a role, especially around Christmas time, if it stayed true to the final pages of the book. I was right, I didn't want to be right, but I was. This is no complaint on the cinematography, or the acting, this is purely at script level that I am angry. Will Smith did an amazing job as Robert Neville, and even showed us his decent into lonely madness perfectly.

Oh, one last thing, why did they HAVE to use computer generated vampires? Oh and for all you who keep calling them Zombies, read the book and put two and two together on screen, I'm tired of this "not another zombie movie" crap, the novel was written in the '50s well before any zombie movies. Okay, back to the creatures in the movie. They should not have been cg, it looked terrible!! They wanted these dingy looking bald and emaciated freaked, so why didn't they just hire some? Real people look SO much better than something rendered on a computer. Seriously, if you saw the 1990 remake of Night of The Living Dead, there is a zombie in the movie that is practically just skin and bones, he looks so macabre. The thing that made him so freakish on film was the fact that he was a real person. They should have gone that route, it would have looked much better.

Anyway, read the novel. Always read the novel before seeing the movie, its a much more wonderful experience to get the full story then experience the movie, then you aren't tasting a watered down and altered recipe of the story. I'd like to rate this movie, but I'm not sure how. I enjoyed 3/4ths of the movie, I don’t like the ending at all, and the creatures suck. They also tampered with a lot of minor parts of the story, and also changed a lot of the back story, but that's trivial compared to the ending. B- maybe? Anyone else have an opinion?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Final Painting and more

Alright, so I'm finally getting back to more regular blog. First up, this weekend I finished my final painting for my Acrylic class:

click this to see the full image

That was the biggest painting I think I have done yet, 32x34 on canvas. It took FOREVER as well, I thought I was going to go mad and start drinking turpentine like Van Gogh half way through. It was worth the effort though, I learned a lot on while working on this project.
Actually, I think I learned a lot from the class in general. I'll be trying to take another painting class Spring Quarter.

Moving on, I'm still working on the big project for RetrowareTV, now that school is done I can focus more on their project. The first illustration is potentially done, I sent it back to them to go through the final gauntlet and see what they think of it. I'll be doing at least three initial illustrations for them, and potential future projects as well. When I get the thumbs up for completion of the first illustration, Ill post both the final product and the preliminary sketches for the second illustration.

Lastly, I've been very poor the last few months, so I’m not attending Winter Quarter. It’s not too bad, I hate driving in the snow, and I haven't switched departments yet, and attending school and working night is not a nice combination. So, I am basically limited on the gift giving this year. My mom suggests I do some artwork as gifts. She has no idea how long that would take, and secondly I do not give away art unless I'm 150% confident that the recipient will be happy with it and display it. As for my nieces, they want Xboxes, computers, iPods, and anything else their wildly expensive brains can come up with. About every year when I do buy them a Christmas gift, it’s never expensive enough for them anyway and they toss it in the corner and forget it. I specifically remember one of my nieces shrugging off one gift and tossing it behind her last year to tear open a much bigger gift. I will not paint something for someone to toss away and forget.

Anyway, I don't stand on a soapbox and bitch about gifts, so I'm wrapping this blog entry up.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I should be Crime Fighter... I caught a thief!

So last night at work, I caught at thief... Not as exciting as I would have liked it to have been, but none the less, I was a crimefighter for about an hour. Let those who choose the darker path know that the weed of crime bears bitter fruit, crime does not pay!!! Alright then, back to the story. It was about 12:30 last night in the good old hospital, and I was setting up some equipment in the vending room for the night when a guy just happened to walk in with each jean pocket stuffed with a soda pop, coat pockets with sodas, and even a cafeteria tray filled to the brim with more sodas, about a four cheesecake slices, and a half dozen granola bars! Not only was this guy stealing, he was shopping. How could this guy not realize he looked like a red flag? All that food and sodas on a cafe tray, about four hours after the cafeteria already closed... I would have jumped him myself right then and there, but knowing my luck if I had, he probably paid for it earlier in the afternoon and just really liked soda and cheesecake. So, instead of wrangling him to the floor, I walked over to the security booth and asked them to check the tape on the cafe cameras to see if he was in there just a few minutes ago. Sure enough he was, and the security and police on duty at the hospital confronted him and dealt with it.

I have other stuff to blog soon, just been busy, caught between school, work, and sleep.